Cape Town - Prop Frans Malherbe says the Springboks are prepared for whatever the weather gods dish up at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The Boks, who were the first team to arrive in the country, have been exposed to the severe heat and humidity for over two weeks now as they continue preparations for Saturday's massive clash against the defending champion All Blacks in Yokohama.
Since the Boks have been in Japan there have been reports of weight loss in the squad after training sessions as conditioning continues to be one of the major talking points heading into what is shaping
Malherbe, who is expected to start in the No 3 jersey on Saturday, says that dealing with the climate has gotten easier with time.
"It’s very hot, especially the first week and a half," he said.
"I think there is a difference between weight loss and being very dehydrated. But it was great preparation and it’s a lot cooler now. Still, the humidity is very high.
"We got good prep in those first 10 to 12 days, so we are prepared for anything that the weather can do here. It’s important to drink a lot of water. The odd kilo or two dropping is not all that bad."
Despite the heat, the weather report for Saturday suggests that there will be rain in Yokohama with temperatures dropping.
Wet surfaces obviously impact on handling, but they also pose a unique challenge for the front rows as they look to dominate at scrum time.
"To be honest, I haven’t been at the stadium. But all the fields I’ve been to in Japan to train on, the pitch was really amazing," said Malherbe.
"I think it’s more a question of how the field will hold, rather than the conditions if it is wet or slippery or whatever.
"So for me at this stage, I’m really confident that even though it rains, the pitch will be in such a state that it will hold up."
Regardless of the conditions, Malherbe knows that the Boks will face a massive test in the front row from the world champions.
"The All Blacks deserve a lot of credit for their scrum – a very powerful scrum," he said.
"Obviously it’s one of the main set-phases, and we will have to do our thing as well. It’s going to be a massive challenge, and something we all look forward to."
Kick-off on Saturday is at 11:45 (SA time).
- Compiled by Lloyd Burnard